With the IIFT MBA(IB) 2020–22 results declared, I feel this is the right time to present my IIFT interview experience, which was conducted shortly after the IIFT 2019 entrance exam. Before I begin, I would like to state that IIFT has one of the most unique second rounds of selection amongst the top B-schools of India. Once you clear the written exam you have to go through a WAT (written ability test), a GD (Group discussion), and a PI (personal interview), in order to get admitted to this prestigious b-school.
GEM | X - 94.67 % | XII - 94.80 % | Graduation - 90.6 % ( Btech in Mechanical engineering, State govt. college)
IIFT percentile: 95.45 %ile ( 141.5 marks out of 300)
Work experience - 2 months ( as per the IIFT form )
Venue: Hotel Levana, Lucknow.
Just after the attendance and document verification, all the candidates were divided into two batches of eighteen candidates each. We were then taken to the respective rooms for WAT and GD.
WAT topic - Is life necessarily black or white? ( 20 min. window )
GD topic - Workforce diversity is a fad or necessity? ( 40 min. window )
If I were to rate my performance in the above two mentioned parameters of selection, my ratings would be :
WAT - 7/10
GD - 7/10 (made numerous entries with concrete points, almost had the 45% share of the GD in a batch of eighteen people)
I was the second person to be interviewed in my batch. There were three panelists in the interview room: one lady professor ( let’s say P1 ) and two male professors ( let’s say P2 and P3). All of them were sitting in the same manner from left to right. We were supposed to enter the room on hearing a bell. As I entered the room, I wished all the panelists and walked up to the interviewee's chair, and waited for the interviewers to ask me to sit down.
All three panelists: Good morning Nitesh, please have a seat.
Me - Thank you, ma’am, thank you, sirs!
P2 - You thanked ma’am first, any specific reason for that?
Me (smiling) - No sir, there’s no specific reason, I just followed the order in which you were sitting from left to right!
P2 - Okay, no issues. Please tell us something about yourself.
Me - Had just started giving the standard answer to this universal question, but was interrupted by P3 in between.
P3 - Can you tell the *sandhi-vicched* of your name?
Me - Yes sir! Do I have to tell it in Hindi?
P3 - Yes, yes; you can tell in Hindi.
Me - Sir, its *Neeti* + *Eesh*, and *Neeti* = policies while *Eesh* = God/master. So, the word Nitesh means *Master of policies*.
P3 - Okay, but can you tell me the difference between the meaning of Nitish and your name?
Me - Sir I’m not quite sure, but both the names have the same meaning, the slight difference between them is due to the *Tatsam-Tadbhav* thing Hindi.
P3 - Fair enough, now you may continue with your introduction!
Me - Sure sir!! ( and I continued with my introduction, then P2 asked me a question which was related to my introduction.)
P2 - You mentioned about some books you’ve authored, what are those about?
Me - Sir one of them is a novel based on the genre - philosophical fiction, one is a collection of poems and one of them is a collection of short stories.
P3 - I see. Can you name some of the awards which are given in the field of literature, (apart from the Nobel prize in Literature)?
Me - Sure sir! Some of the famous awards in this field are the - Man booker prize, Pulitzer prize, Gnanpith Samman, Nine dots prize, etc.
P3 - Okay, I always had a query about this *Man* in the booker prize, is this prize only given to men? Do you have any idea about it?
Me - No sir, the *Man* in the *Man booker prize* is actually an investing company. Hence, the name of the prize.
P3 - Can you name some Indian authors who have been awarded the Man Booker prize? Also, mention the year, if you remember.
Me - Yes sir, Arundhati Roy for God of small things in 1997, and Kiran Desai for The Inheritance of Loss in 2006.
P3 - Okay, can you name some authors from Uttar Pradesh?
Me - Sir, Kaifi Azmi was a poet, he was from Azamgarh, and the other name, perhaps the pen name which I can recall is that of Nirala ( his real name was Govind Prasad if I am not wrong)!
P3 - Fair enough. Ma’am do you have any questions? ( turning towards P1 )
P1 - ( Reading the CV form)... I see you have written some research papers...Can you enlist their research fields?
Me - Ma’am one of them was from the field of aeronautical engineering, one from the field of artificial engineering, and one from the field of automobile engineering.
P1 - Okay, suppose I’m an investor. Give me two reasons for and two reasons against investing in SpaceX.
Me - Ma’am the two reasons against this notion of investing should be -
The private corporations (by and large)in this particular field have a habit of overpromising and under-delivering.
Also, there have been multiple failed launches of the different flight missions of this company, which can very well lead to huge losses to the investors.
And two reasons in favor of this notion of investing should be -
The reusable launch pads used by the company are a very sustainable option (gave the reference of a recent flight mission that took off from the Atlantic ocean).
Also, till the time NASA is there in this market, it will keep regulating the market, it won't turn into a monopolistic market, and there will be a good amount of competition, which is good for the investor at least!
P1 - Okay, can you name some other competitor of SpaceX? Anything you can associate with Russia?
Me - Sorry ma’am, I cannot recall the name of that company, but I do know that they had sent a space robot named FEDOR into the international space station, in the month of July last year.
P2 - (suddenly taking the charge from P1) How do you manage to do so many things? What is the driving force behind all these actions?
Me - Sir, I have always focussed on achieving maximum efficiency and productivity, nothing more than that.
P2 - (smiling) Nice choice of words. Okay, even though you are not from a finance/economics background, can you tell me what is the current economic condition of our country?
Me - Sir the current economic condition of the country can be tagged as Stagflation!
P2 - What is it? Does it have anything to do with the recession?
Me - Sir, Stagflation is the situation when the inflation rate is high and growth is low. The next stage after this is a recession.
P2 - Are you sure?
Me - Yes sir, I am quite confident about it.
P2 - Okay, can you tell me the reasons behind this economic slowdown?
Me - Sir, one of the reasons behind this economic slowdown is the slump in the automobile sector which was due to the implementation of manufacturing engines as per the BS-VI norms, also sir the supply chain of the automobile industry is such that it cannot handle such abrupt changes. This slump directly affected the steel industry which is one of the eight core industries, and thus contributed negatively to the economic condition.
P2 - But there are many states who don’t have much automobile production or say steel production, why are they also contributing or getting affected because of this slowdown?
Me - Sir, this slump in the automobile sector is not the sole reason behind the slowdown, it is one of the reasons behind it!
P2 - Okay, I see...one of the reasons! (nodding his head…. Then turned towards P3 and asked him to lead the interview)
P3 - You have good academics, you were born and brought up in Lucknow, and also have been working in the same city. Why is it so? Any special affection for this city?
Me - No sir, the reason behind this is a miscalculation that happened on my part! I was quite confident of getting into a good b school last year (and hence did not sit for placements, as the processes required some good amount of time to be invested ), but could not and was waitlisted. So the companies related to my specialization which came on campus, had wrapped up their processes by then, and the only option left to me was to go for off-campus placements, and I chose the option which was best available to me, keeping in mind the fact that I’d be writing the entrance exams again.
P3 - Fair enough… Fair enough!
All three panelists: I think we are done now, all the best!
Me - Thank you, ma’am, thank you, sirs.
VERDICT: Converted Kolkata campus in the first list.
P.S - Nobody except few near and dear ones, ever thought that I could convert IIFT at such low/borderline percentile. I hope this interview experience will bolster the positive feelings of the candidates who are quite sceptical of their conversion incase of touch and go scenario. Always remember if you have a call, you have all the realistic chances of converting it and this is true for almost all the b-schools of the world.